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House Bill 2 apparently did not dampen tourism in 2016.

North Carolina recorded a record $22.9 billion in visitor spending last year, according to figures recently put out by the Department of Commerce.

That’s an increase of 4.3 percent from 2015 and supported more than 218,000 tourism jobs, according to commerce.

The Supreme Court will not review North Carolina’s invalidated Voter ID Law, leaving in place a ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that had struck down the law. A lower court ruled that some provisions in the law "target African Americans with almost surgical precision," and therefore unconstitutional.

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, a conversation about the Senate budget with Loretta Boniti of Spectrum News.

The Senate passed a spending proposal, but not before some late-night wrangling and more than a few surprises.

The final spending bill wasn't passed until 3 a.m., well after many journalists thought.

Updated at 12:53 p.m., June 21, 2017

North Carolina state senators are expected to give final approval to a $23 billion dollar state budget Wednesday afternoon.

This week in state politics, a look at the budget.

Jeff Tiberii talks with Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the N.C. Justice Center on the $22.9 billion spending plan passed by the North Carolina Senate.

Copyright 2017 WUNC-FM. To see more, visit WUNC-FM.

Duke Energy might again cut off the lights at the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, unless the nonprofit makes payments on an $18,000 credit deposit.

Duke mandated the deposit following an alleged late payment earlier this year. Duke shut off the museum's lights for a few hours one day in February. The museum refunded visitors that day, during Black History Month, its busiest time of year.

The Republican-led North Carolina Senate passed its budget proposal along party lines early Friday morning.

The $22.9 billion dollar plan would spend more than $500 million less than a plan offered by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.

A fourth veto, and now a fourth override, and now hog farmers are shielded with government protection.

Governor Roy Cooper sharply criticized the federal government after it gave North Carolina less than 1 percent of the relief funds sought to assist victims of Hurricane Matthew.

State Senators rolled out a $22.9 billion spending plan Tuesday afternoon at the General Assembly. This spending proposal represents an increase of 2.5 percent over the current budget and is a significant step in the protracted budget process.

Financial services giant Credit Suisse will add 1,200 new jobs in North Carolina and invest more than $70 million at its Research Triangle Park campus, the company announced Tuesday.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse Switches To Solar

May 9, 2017

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse on the Crystal Coast will switch to a solar-powered system this week.

In many homes across the state, residents come home from work, turn on their lights, run their dishwashers and watch television or browse the Internet. They do all this without giving much thought to the electricity that courses for miles underground and through their house to power these devices.

The new fiscal year begins July 1, and lawmakers could get a two-year budget plan in place by then if all goes as scheduled.

New Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities in Fayetteville, Charlotte, and elsewhere have reduced wait times. But the VA concedes it must do more.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue gave a record number of tax credits last year for renewable energy use.

Walter Jones, who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, was the only Republican in this state to vote against a bill that will repeal portions of Obamacare.

"Most of the reason is that we don’t have an updated Congressional Budget Office score," he told WUNC as the bill passed 217-213.

"The last day or two, leadership has talked to me about it, (asked me), 'What would it take to get your vote?' They are cutting deals with members of Congress, tweaking this and tweaking that, and you don’t know what the costs are going to be."

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics podcast, memories of Mark Binker.

The widely respected journalist and experienced member of the North Carolina Capitol Press Corps, died unexpectedly Saturday morning. He was 43.

Lawmakers recently passed a bill reducing the size of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Republicans said the court's caseload is down, but Democrats complained the only motivation was to prevent Governor Cooper from making appointments.

So who’s right?

A new political poll from Elon University found that more North Carolina voters support Governor Roy Cooper than not after his first 100 days in office.

In North Carolina, young black men are  twice as likely to be stopped in their car than white men. In some U.S. cities, including Chicago, the ratio is much higher. 

Order Opens Carolinas For Drilling

May 2, 2017

On Friday, President Trump has issued an executive order that opens up the possibility of off-shore drilling in American waters, including off the coast of the Carolinas.

Post-9/11 REAL IDs Now Available In NC

May 2, 2017

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles began offering "REAL ID" identification cards Monday.

The identification cards are alternatives to standard state-issued cards and comply with federal requirements enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The new IDs are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner.

In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which increased security standards for state-issued driver licenses and IDs to help prevent fraudulent identification.

The chief justice of North Carolina's top court threw his support behind legislation to raise the age of juvenile offenders.

North Carolina is now the only state to automatically try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal court. But Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin says it's time for that to change.

"Our own Department of Public Safety conducted surveys on this issue which reflected that over 90 percent of parents already thought that 18 was the age for adult jurisdiction," Martin said.

During a press conference to rally support for the bill, Martin highlighted that North Carolina is the only state that has not upped the age limit to try defendants as adults. He said that teenage mistakes can follow North Carolinians into their adulthood as they seek employment. In other states, an error in judgment made by a 17-year-old would have a smaller impact on his ability to find employment later in life.

Mark Binker, a widely respected journalist and experienced member of the North Carolina Capitol Press Corps, died unexpectedly Saturday morning. He was 43.

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This was "crossover week" at the North Carolina legislature, a busy time for lawmakers (and journalists).  It's a self-imposed deadline, when a majority of the bills put forth by lawmakers must pass at least one chamber or be considered dead for the remainder of the session.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii, who's been putting in the long hours in Raleigh.    They spoke on Friday, the day after crossover deadline.  

Flooding. Sewer spills. Contaminated drinking water.

Across North Carolina's communities, water systems have been pushed to their limits, and in some cases overrun. Hurricane Matthew, for example, wreaked havoc. On a smaller scale, flooding throughout the Triangle this week showed that drainage systems are susceptible even outside major disasters.

Elon University has released a new poll that asked North Carolinians what they think about President Donald Trump. The poll was taken during the lead-up to the president's first 100 days in office.

The General Assembly has completed the override of the governor's veto of a measure reducing the state Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12.

A statewide non-profit and 10 North Carolina citizens are suing the Republican-led Legislature over a special session held last year to pass laws that eroded the governor's power.

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